Celebration time for Super Kings

We prepared hard, says jubilant captain M S Dhoni after his teams maiden IPL triumph

Celebration time for Super Kings

Chennai Super Kings celebrate their triumph in the third edition of the Indian Premier League in Mumbai on Sunday. PTI

The Indian skipper had provided a rare public glimpse of his bottled-up emotions after securing semifinal qualification in Dharamsala last week, but after the last delivery of the final against the Mumbai Indians, he didn’t go over the top with his celebrations. Perhaps, Dhoni had used up his public show of emotion quotient after Kieron Pollard’s dismissal!

“You have to be happy in life,” he said, referring to the Dharamsala and Pollard dismissal reactions. “You have to face situations when it is tough for you. There was a time in the middle of the tournament when we needed quite a few wins to make the semis. Mr N Srinivasan, the franchise owner, came up to us and said we have confidence in you guys that you will easily qualify. I was not sure about that as we needed to do really well to go to the semis.

“That motivational speech really worked for us,” Dhoni went on. “We were never under pressure going into the semifinals because all we wanted was to do well as a team, give 100 percent. After that, if we are outplayed, we can’t do much. Twenty20 cricket is a format where we lose some and win some. At the end of the day, if you prepare well and execute the plans and it still doesn’t work and you end up on the losing side, you have to accept it.”

Dhoni admitted that Pollard’s late blitz had him worried. “The way he was batting, I did have a few doubts,” he conceded. “He hits those big sixes and either takes you home or gets out. I was a bit worried but we thought we had the option of putting the pressure on the other batsman, not letting the strike change and keep their run rate mounting.”
Pollard was caught smartly by Matthew Hayden at a very straight mid-off, an unusual fielding position. “It was a gut feeling,” Dhoni revealed. “You know that big hitters look to hit straight. If they don’t get the elevation, that is the height where the ball goes from. I thought of taking a gamble, it worked for us. I am happy it worked.”

The Super Kings benefited hugely from significant contributions from local lads Murali Vijay and R Ashwin. “I made it clear to Vijay when he initially came into the eleven that he was not playing his normal shots. He tried to change his batting style to accommodate the format. I just said, you are a good timer, you have to be in good position to play the shots. He got time in the nets and when he came back, he was a completely different  player. He was well balanced and his feet position was very good to play the shots. He just took on the opponents. With Matthew Hayden not firing, there was pressure on Vijay to fire and he did that job really well.

“As far as Ashwin is concerned, I have seen him bowling in the Challenger Trophy. He is a consistent bowler. He is not one of those bowlers who people think is a very dangerous bowler, but he is very effective. He has got the carrom ball also, so he can confuse the batsman. He is very consistent with his line and length. It was really good to have him in the side because he was bowling the first three overs consistently for us.”

The Super Kings were beaten finalists in the inaugural edition in 2008. “A lot of time went in preparation this time though we don’t get time throughout the year,” Dhoni pointed out. “It may be just ten days before the start but we have to jell well as a team as dressing room atmosphere is very important. We were one of those sides who were constantly influenced by injuries. But we managed our resources very well. We were one of the few sides that has played consistent cricket over the three editions. But considering the side we have, we played to only 60-70 percent of our potential. We could have played much better cricket but at the end of the day, what really matters is that we have won.”

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